Imperialism destroyed the social system of the former Soviet Union. Now imperialism is moving towards doing the same to the United States. The irony is that while the former imploded after decades of economic pressure and attempts at political meddling from outside imperialist powers, the latter is beginning to implode due to the internal sickness that imperialism creates for a country.
And because the U.S. has positioned itself at the heart of global imperialist machinations, its fall is the hardest out of all the other countries which benefit from imperialism. Its record military spending, as well as its embrace of neoliberal austerity policies which are uniquely severe for the developed world (the U.S. doesn't even have a universal healthcare program unlike the rest of the industrialized countries) have left it weak to crises like the pandemic. Its Covid-19 deaths have now reached 231 thousand, by far the most out of any country in the world. This has exacerbated all the other disasters which afflict modern American society.
Due to the prolonged threat of Covid-19, brought on both by the innate dysfunctionality of the country's healthcare system and by a president who's deliberately sabotaged pandemic response efforts, the U.S. continues to experience a drastic decline in living standards. The unemployment epidemic was supposed to be temporary, but now it's permanent for almost 4 million people. A study from last month showed that the number of Americans living in poverty has grown by 8 million since this May alone, reflecting how hunger in the U.S. has tripled in the last year (with children now being fourteen times more likely than a year ago to lack adequate access to food). Despite the capitalist narratives about how this year's economic crash has been just a temporary setback, unemployment is still rising, and layoffs are expected to go up in the coming months.
The business leaders and politicians who've promised this recovery, and who are now being proven catastrophically wrong by material reality, will now resort to scapegoating manufactured enemies. China will be blamed for the growing economic misery of Americans, even though the economic fallout from Washington's anti-Chinese cold war is what's to blame for any economic damage as it relates to China. The participants in the country's urban unrest, who are only responding to the abhorrent conditions which the system has placed them in, will be vilified as the primary threats to the public good.
We'll hear plenty of propaganda from the state and its adjacent reactionary forces, all begging us to blame the angry looters in the hood or some boogeyman foreign power. But how effective will this be when every part of what's causing us pain on a daily basis is clearly tied to the country's socioeconomic system? At a moment when the virus is about to get far worse for a myriad of reasons, the government is refusing to help the millions who are most in peril. Due to the various bureaucratic obstacles to getting a new Covid-19 aid bill passed before the end of the year, unemployment benefits, eviction protection, student loan deferments, and more are likely to be lost to those most dependent on them.
Is it any wonder why the country is ripe for massive political violence? These developments, combined with the country's ongoing routine of racist police brutality, have been prompting the colonized and exploited parts of the population to mobilize in the streets. This has provoked the members of the labor aristocracy and the petty bourgeois, the types who show up to rallies with expensive weapons and like to live action roleplay as "freedom fighters," to prepare to defend the deeply corrupt kleptocrat president who they've formed a cult of personality around.
The purveyors of empire will keep claiming that U.S. capitalism is headed for a grand recovery. The old American love for colonialist annexation will be fed into by continued campaigns to escalate against Venezuela, and to further expand the empire's reach through future coup attempts in Latin America. But whatever benefits that are still to be reaped from neo-colonial exploitation, and from neoliberalism in general, will just be funneled up to plutocrats like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. As the U.S. empire declines, the multinational corporations are looking to ultimately leave America behind, and to let the country's population fend for itself in a future of climate collapse and economic deprivation.
This is the future for the U.S. that a Pentagon report from last year anticipated; one where infrastructure largely breaks down due to ever-increasing natural disasters, and where most of the population is left without access to either housing, adequate food, or the ability to get essential services like healthcare. The report assesses the serious possibility of a collapse of the national power grid within "the next 20 years," which gives us the sense that the U.S. state will likely remain fairly stable during the 2030s and 40s. During this time, the state will respond to the rising crisis by expanding the militarized police state, mass surveillance, and political imprisonments. As well as by enacting further austerity while investing in endless war.
But however much the forces of liberal authoritarianism tighten their grip, it's likely that at some point during this century, the U.S. will not just decline but truly fall. Billionaires are buying up rural land and creating luxury bunkers for a reason: they know that one day, they'll have to retreat into fortified doomsday compounds to escape the turbulence of the coming decades. In this event-which won't come about all at once, but through a gradual process of destabilization-most countries will end up becoming sacrifice zones for these plutocrats. And the U.S., with its severe risks of climate damage in most places, brewing potential for civil war, economic deterioration which surpasses that of much of the rest of the developed world, and exceptional vulnerability to pandemics, is prime to become one of those zones.
The darkness that those in the land currently called "America" will enter into is far more severe than even the vast collapse in living standards that followed the Soviet Union's dissolution. After the U.S. becomes a fully failed state, it won't be able to rebuild itself into a stable society like Russia has, at least not until its right-wing paramilitary forces are contained and its economic and environmental damages are sufficiently dealt with. Our only hope for carrying out these tasks is to build organizations which can wage class war according to the principles of past Marxist-Leninist revolutions, and to equip ourselves to defend against a tremendously violent reactionary backlash.